Dear Beth Shalom Community,

V’nishmartem me’od l’nafshoteichem – “you must surely take care of yourselves.” Jewish tradition teaches that we have a sacred responsibility to take care of ourselves and to take care of each other. At Beth Shalom, we take this mitzvah seriously and have decided to adjust some synagogue activities in light of this afternoon’s recommendations from Public Health – Seattle & King County

Following the department’s guidelines against holding large gatherings, we are saddened to share that we will be canceling Friday evening and Shabbat morning services this week (including Cottage Minyan, Prozdor, children’s programs, and Shabbat afternoon learning) as well as Purim evening (including Purim Katan, the Greatest Maariv, and megillah reading).

Following Seattle Public Schools and Public Health – Seattle & King County recommendations about children and schools, Beth Shalom’s Sunday and Tuesday Religious School and Early Childhood Center will continue to operate while following strict guidelines on personal cleanliness and sanitation.

Smaller gatherings, including Purim morning services, weekday minyan, adult education, and youth group programs will continue as scheduled. Please see below for a detailed list.

The Beth Shalom office will be open as usual.

Please keep us informed: If you have been diagnosed with, have been exposed to, or have restrictions from your medical provider related to COVID-19 or other communicable diseases, please contact Carol Benedick. Confidentiality will be respected. We want to make sure that your needs are met as well as those of the community at large.

As Public Health – Seattle & King County continues to issue policy recommendations, we will update this list and alert the community about updates via email, Facebook, and on our website.

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Thursday, March 5

  • Morning minyan – held as scheduled at 7:00 am, with a request for people not to attend if they are feeling sick or at higher risk
  • Thursday connections – held as scheduled at 10:00 am, with a request for people not to attend if they are feeling sick or at higher risk

Friday, March 6

  • Morning minyan – held as scheduled at 7:00 am, with a request for people not to attend if they are feeling sick or at higher risk
  • Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv – canceled
  • USY Shabbat Dinner – canceled
  • Shabbat Chaverim – participants are advised to reach out to their groups and decide if they want to meet

Saturday, March 7

  • Shabbat morning services and all programming – canceled

Sunday, March 8

  • Morning minyan – held as scheduled at 9:30 am, with a request for people not to attend if they are feeling sick or at higher risk
  • Religious School – held as scheduled
  • Purim Carnival – canceled, but religious school classes will include fun and festive Purim activities
  • Teen Purim Lunch- held as scheduled

Monday, March 9

  • Morning minyan – held as scheduled at 7:00 am, with a request for people not to attend if they are feeling sick or at higher risk
  • Erev Purim festivities (including Purim Katan, the Greatest Maariv and Megillah reading) – canceled. Please note we are also investigating ways for people to virtually hear the Megillah read; we will send updates as we have them.

Tuesday, March 10

  • Megillah reading and Purim services — held as scheduled at 7:00 am in the Sanctuary, with a request for people who are feeling sick or at higher risk to not attend
  • Religious School – held as scheduled
  • Teen Learning- held as scheduled

Sunday, March 15

  • Iraqis in Pajamas concert – canceled
  • Food and Friends – participants are advised to reach out to their groups and decide if they want to meet

Friday-Saturday, March 20-21

  • Edwin and Marilyn Bierman Scholar in Residence featuring Dr. Marjorie Lehman – canceled. We are looking into rescheduling for a later date.

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What does all of this mean for observing the mitzvot of Purim?

Hearing the Megillah

Though the ideal is to hear the megillah chanted out of a scroll, reading the megillah in Hebrew or in English is certainly a worthwhile and meaningful Purim activity. The text of the megillah can be found here (https://www.sefaria.org/Esther.1?lang=bi). We are also investigating the possibility of a virtual megillah reading; we will send updates as we have them.

 

Matanot L’Evyonim (Gifts to the Poor)

If you participated in matanot l’evyonim by supporting meals at St. Dunstan’s Church through HappyPurim.com, please know that your donation has already been sent and will be used to serve dinner to people in need on Purim (and on several other days as well). Other ways of giving to the poor can and should be done as usual.

Mishloach Manot (Gifts of Food to Each Other)

You are invited to pick up your Beth Shalom mishloach manot gift at religious school pickup (12:30pm) on Sunday, March 9, or from the CBS office during business hours on Monday or Tuesday. If you are available to help deliver mishloach manot to those who are ill or at higher risk, please contact Melani Baker.

Seudat Purim (Eating a Festive Meal)

There’s no reason for COVID-19 to interfere with eating delicious food, so eat something festive on Tuesday in celebration of Purim!

We wish you strength of body and strength of spirit in these difficult times, and we encourage you to reach out to your neighbors and community members who may be feeling isolated or anxious. If you are comfortable hosting small gatherings for Shabbat or Purim meals, we also encourage you to do so in an effort to be in community and to be there for each other. We also hope that you may still find meaning and joy in the celebrations of Shabbat and Purim, whether that’s through private prayer and study, baking hamentashen, unplugging, giving tzedakah, or spending time with friends and family.

We appreciate your patience, understanding, and partnership as we continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation. We pray for all of those who are ill, and we eagerly look forward to being able to gather together as a community soon.

Norbert Sorg     Carol Benedick     Rabbi Paula Rose

 

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